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News in Numbers: Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has made 35 acquisitions since 2001

LiveMint logoLiveMint 04-10-2017


What is it? The year-on-year growth in an index of eight core industries, which make up about 40% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), in August 2017, the government announced on Tuesday.

Why is it important? For a government battling sluggish economic numbers, this comes as a sliver of good news. On Wednesday, the central bank will conclude its two-day policy review, and announce a decision on interest rates, as the government has been demanding to catalyse growth. The consensus among economists is that it will hold interest rates due to inflation concerns.

Tell me more: Also on Tuesday, a measure of manufacturing activity showed that September was the second straight month of expansion. And the government cut excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs2 a litre, sending a signal to the central bank that the government was doing its bit to check inflation.


What is it? The number of acquisitions made, or significant stakes in companies purchased, by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway since 2001. On Tuesday, Berkshire bought 38.6% in Pilot Travel Centers, the largest US truck-stop operator, and will become its majority owner in six years.

Why is it important? This is the first significant investment/acquisition since August 2015 by Berkshire, which is set up as a holding company of businesses. For decades now, Buffett has made a name as the world’s most famous investor by betting on the US economy to come through. It’s a position he maintains, and the latest stake purchase reiterates that.

Tell me more: Pilot Travel, which owns the truck-stop chain Pilot Flying J, is the 15th-largest private company in the US, with annual sales of about $19.6 billion.

525 million pounds

What is it? The amount bid by English football club Arsenal’s majority shareholder, Stan Kroenke, to buy out Alisher Usmanov, its second-largest shareholder.

Why is it important? The offer reignites the power struggle at Arsenal, in which American Kroenke owns 67%, Russian Usmanov 30.4% and minority shareholders the rest. In spite of being shareholders for a decade now, the two businessmen don’t have a working relationship and Usmanov has made several attempts to take over. It’s not the only relationship of friction at the storied English club.

Tell me more: According to KMPG, as of January 2017, Arsenal was the sixth-most valuable European football club, with a median enterprise value of 1.66 billion pounds.


What is it? The drop in the share price of Reliance Communications on Tuesday, the first trading day after the Sunday announcement by the embattled telecom company that it was calling off its merger talks with Aircel.

Why is it important? The latest drop in share price lowered the market capitalisation of RCom to Rs4,256 core. It further disincentivises lenders, who have lent RCom Rs45,000 crore and the repayment of which is in question, to convert their debt into equity.

Tell me more: RCom is now banking on a sale of its mobile tower, spectrum and real estate assets to pare its debt. Brokerage firm CLSA, in a note to investors released on Tuesday, flagged a “renewal risk” in RCom’s spectrum assets. Overall, things have progressively worsened for RCom.


What is it? The revised price of an annual Amazon Prime membership fee, up from the current introductory offer of Rs499, that will kick in after a “few more days”, according to Amazon India.

Why is it important? Amazon Prime is a membership program intended to build customer and revenue stickiness. It gives members access to free and fast delivery, unlimited video streaming, and exclusive access to deals, among other things. Amazon rival Flipkart too has a similar membership plan, called Flipkart First, for Rs500 a year. It remains to be seen how customers respond to the upcoming price hike of Amazon Prime, and how it affects the Amazon versus Flipkart battle in India.

Tell me more: Amazon offers Prime in other markets as well. In the US, for example, it costs $99 a year. is a search engine for public data

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